There are even more reasons for optimism. Firstly, many countries affected by neglected diseases, such as Brazil, Egypt, and India, now have the infrastructure to conduct their own neglected-disease research. Morel and colleagues have called these the “innovative developing countries?(Science 309: 401?04), and say they are now reaping the benefits of decades of investment in education, health research infrastructure, and manufacturing capacity. These countries can begin controlling their endemic tropical diseases themselves by developing their own treatments and vaccines with only modest technical or financial assistance from more developed countries.
Secondly, in addition to the expectation that new tools will be developed to control neglected diseases, there is a surge of interest in maximizing the effectiveness of existing tools. This interest focuses on the idea of taking the disparate vertical control programs, each targeting a specific neglected disease, and delivering them in one integrated package. For example, important work is under way to examine the impact of four drugs—albendazole, praziquantel, azithromycin, and ivermectin—in a single delivery mechanism in order to simultaneously target lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, and trachoma (Lancet 365: 1029?030).
Thirdly, and perhaps most imp